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A process server is a person engaged in the business of serving or one who purports to serve or one who serves personally or by substituted service upon any person, corporation, governmental or political subdivision or agency, a summons, subpoena, notice, citation or other process, directing an appearance or response to a legal action, legal proceeding or administrative proceedings.
What is a process server?
Credits for this video: San Diego District Attorney Office, California, and Youtube
Thinking about avoiding a process server?
It may not be a good idea and here is why:
Licensed Process Server
Very often I find articles online about people giving tips about how to avoid process servers and some people believe that they can avoid a lawsuit by not answering the door for a process server, and maybe they believe that if they managed to avoid the process server for a while they will be free from any legal repercussion. After all, the lawsuit cannot begin until papers are served personally on the defendant, right? Well, not necessarily. In New York State the courts have specific provisions in place to ensure a legal process can take place as timely as possible, even if the person being served manages to dodge the process servers several times in a row.
What makes matter worse is that they see process servers as enemies when in reality, process servers don’t know the person they are serving and has no ill feelings toward them. Process servers are just doing their job. In New York State, with the exception of some cases in which the defendant “must be served personally” such as order of protection, a process server has three options to serve a person:
1. Personal service: handing the papers to the defendant at his residence, workplace, or any other public area.
2. Substitute service: delivering the papers to an adult other than the defendant at his or her residence or workplace and mailing two copies of the
papers by regular mail and certified mail.
3. Conspicuous service: attaching copies of the papers in visible area of the residence front door and mailing two copies by regular mail and certified
Note: In the case of corporations as a defendant the process server can also serve them through Secretary of State.
In New York State, a process server only needs to make three attempts to serve the defendant between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM from Monday to Saturday. Some defendants may not be served on Saturdays if they observe it as holiday based on her or his religion.
After the third attempt is made, process servers are allowed by law to “nail & mail” which is the third option above.
The process server, then, will sign an affidavit of service in front of a Notary Public describing the manner in which the defendant was served and the judge will accept it as a valid “completion of service” and will rule on the lawsuit whether you are there to defend yourself or not.
Before the arrival of technologies defendants could pretty much claim that they were not served, however, with all the new technologies so popular now process servers now are making sure they have recording devices running all the time to record all conversations and interaction with the defendants and also using devices with software that includes GPS technologies to get third parties stamps as to the date and location of their services.
In conclusion, if you mistakenly think that you will stop a lawsuit against you by just hiding from or dodging a process server, think again, you will only make the judge a lot angrier against you once he or she reads in the affidavit of services that you went out of your way to avoid the services but more important you will not get a chance to defend yourself, get an opportunity to get more time to defend your case, or negotiate a better settlement with the plaintiff.